Physics books of 2018
Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality, by Anil Ananthaswamy
Is light a wave or a particle? Yes. No. Maybe. Isaac Newton posited that light came in discrete “corpuscles.” In 1803, Thomas Young’s double slit experiment refuted Newton, demonstrating the dual nature of light, able to act as both a particle and a wave. One hundred years later, quantum mechanics again threw reality up for grabs. Ananthaswamy (The Edge of Physics, The Man Who Wasn’t There) deftly describes the science and history of a simple experiment that perplexes physicists to this day.
Brief Answers to the Big Questions, by Stephen Hawking
For those trying to comprehend the mind of the late physicist Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time, etc.), this final work offers a remarkably accessible and humorous guide to his thinking on the nature and future of human existence. He asks, “Is there a God?” and that’s just the beginning.